What's your learning plan for 2021? How to map out your goals and track your wins

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Managers and employees can use an accomplishment tracker and an objective planning worksheet to chart a path for developing new skills.

According to a new report from Deloitte, the next trend in upskilling and reskilling is to let employee interests and talents set the priorities instead of relying on a blueprint from HR. The 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey recommends that workers have more freedom to choose how they can best take on critical business problems. This approach will make it easier for companies to track the newest skills and business opportunities, by letting workers track industry trends.

Julie Gurican, senior director of people at BenchPrep, predicts that continuous learning and professional development will continue to be a high priority in 2021. 

SEE: Employee Objective Tracking Worksheet (TechRepublic Premium)

"People are jumping to online learning from home and the need for certifications, online boot camps, enhanced learning will all be on the rise," she said.

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The Employee Objective Tracking Worksheet from TechRepublic Premium is a helpful tool for setting goals to develop new technical skills and accomplishing them. This document provides a concise and thorough plan for mapping out desired outcomes, benefits to the company, target completion date, and the complexity level of the skill.

Starting the new year with a plan s in place will provide a significant headstart to skills development goals. The accompanying policy guide explains how to establish good objectives and hold employees accountable for completing them. The company may also use these objectives to offer financial or other incentives for hitting these benchmarks.

SEE: Employee Objective Tracking Worksheet (TechRepublic Premium)

At Trend Micro, business leaders take several approaches to training. Jon Clay, director of global threat communications at Trend Micro, said that the company recently hosted an artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML coding competition to provide hands-on experience in how AL/ML can be used in different applications. There is also an internal hackathon that the R&D department hosts. 

Finally, all employees get sophisticated security trainings throughout the year, including silent business email compromise and phishing simulation campaigns.  

"The Trend Micro Research team leads are involved in teaching internal classes on how to use certain tools in threat hunting," he said. "Additionally, employees can take AWS certification exams and classes which applies to other cloud provider platforms as well."

SEE: Accomplishment Tracker (TechRepublic Premium)

Keeping track of accomplishments over the year

As employees and managers work through their objectives, another crucial task is keeping track of their progress.. It's wonderful to savor a win in the moment, but it's just as important to remember those wins when review time rolls around. The Accomplishment Tracker from TechRepublic Premium makes it easy to do that.  This document has multiple sections that will capture all of your good work, including:

  • Projects
  • Achievements
  • Key performance indicators
  • Classes and certifications
  • Feedback from co-workers, partners, and supervisors
  • Awards

The key is to make time to record your work in this document every month. You could set a reminder to fill out this tracker on a particular day each month or just before a one-on-one meeting with your manager. 

Managers can use this tracker as well to make it easier to complete performance reviews. This way, at the end of the year both managers and employees can see their successes and misses. The tool can also be used in the next year's goal planning.

SEE: Accomplishment Tracker (TechRepublic Premium)

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